In Business News this week: Korean Airlines are to acquire a 44 percent stake in ČSA; Česká Spořitelna planning lay-offs despite high profits; despite efforts to find new markets, the Czech economy remains heavily dependent on export to EU states and two Prague restaurants hold onto their Michelin stars.
Two Prague restaurants – the Alcron and Degustation Boheme Bourgeoise –have held onto the Michelin stars they were first awarded last year. Both restaurants are run by Czech chefs. Alcron has been run by Roman Paulus since 2008 and La Degustation Bohême Bourgeoise by Oldřich Sahajdák since 2006. Several other restaurants were awarded in the Bib Gourmand category: SaSaZu, Le Terroir, Aromi, Divinis and Sansho.
On the border of the districts of Vinohrady and Žižkov is where you will find The Tavern, a cosy bar and burger restaurant that has become a big hit since it opened just over a year ago. Indeed, a leading Czech food critic recently offered a simple explanation as why to The Tavern is always full: Because it has the best burgers in Prague. It’s owned and run by Lori Wyant Selby and her husband Dean, an American couple who are long-term residents of the city.
The Czech government will make a fresh effort to fight smoking and alcoholism, both of which have long been a serious problem in the country. After several failed attempts, the Health Ministry plans to introduce a general smoking ban in public spaces. In addition, the ministry will also push for a move that would oblige restaurants, bars and pubs to offer at least one non-alcoholic beverage at a lower price than the cheapest alcoholic drink.
Sofia Smith, who is half-Irish and half-Asian, has been cooking in Prague since the late nineties. Angel restaurant, where she was the executive head chef, received much critical acclaim – its opening was written about by Fodor’s as “the culinary event of the year” – and as a freelance chef, Sofia Smith continues to put a smile on the faces of Prague’s food lovers. Most recently, she has been hosting themed nights at Prague’s James Joyce Irish Pub and teaching cooking classes at the capital’s Cocina Rivero cooking studio. She speaks about what she
Hygiene officers conducted checks of 1,207 establishments – mostly
restaurants – at the weekend to see if they were upholding the partial
ban on hard liquor following the spate of methanol poisoning in the Czech
Republic in September that killed 27 people. Nine remain in hospital from
drinking poisoned alcohol; five of those persons were admitted to hospital
at the weekend. In all, 76 people were poisoned after consuming bootleg
liquor; some of those who survived suffered permanent disability, such as
blindness or badly-damaged eyesight.
Health Minister Leoš Heger confirmed on Monday that of the 1,207 establishments checked at the weekend, 20 venues had failed to meet the strict new requirements, lacking, for example, the necessary documentation for specific products sold. Under the partial ban, establishments have up to 60 days to produce certification for alcohol in storage and only hard alcohol produced before 2012 can be legally sold. In the near future, hygiene officers will focus on taking samples from opened bottles at establishments to measure for the presence of dangerous substances.
The Czech authorities continue efforts to restart sales of hard alcohol, with plans to ease the controversial ban on spirits introduced in the wake of the methanol scandal. Lifting the ban won't come soon enough for the nation's bar and restaurant businesses, among them the Black Angel's Cocktail Bar, hidden away in the basement of Prague's U Prince Hotel. When it opened two years ago it was styled as a Prohibition-style bar, offering the decor, atmosphere and authentic cocktails of 1920s America. Ironically, the bar is now struggling with very
Prague’s second annual Foodparade attracted hundreds of people to the city’s Troya Park on Saturday. Fifteen leading Czech restaurants presented their specialties at the festival with chefs preparing some of the food out in the open. Visitors could taste samples of Italian and French cuisine and find out about molecular gastronomy. The two-day festival ends on Sunday with a bartenders show.
In his weekly TV show “Ano, šéfe!” or “Yes, Boss!,” Zdeněk Pohlreich sets restaurant owners straight. Some might say he is the closest equivalent that the Czech Republic has to Gordon Ramsay. And the Czech celebrity chef has some authority on the topic: he started cooking in 1975, then left the country shortly after the Velvet Revolution and spent some time working abroad. Since returning home, he has applied what he calls “the Western standard of cooking and service” to a number of restaurants around Prague. Zdeněk Pohlreich’s current operation
The heat wave is reported to have boosted beer sales both in shops and restaurants. A survey among salespeople and pub owners revealed an increase in beer sales between 10 and 30 percent on days that day temperatures hit the 30s. The supermarket chain Billa reported a 75 percent increase in sales of non-alcoholic beer and a several percent increase in bottled water and other non-alcoholic beverages.